Whitefish corridor at a crossroad

Print Article

Whitefish has been between the proverbial rock and a hard spot for some time over planning control of the U.S. 93 corridor south of the intersection with Montana 40.

The city battled in court for years with Flathead County and ultimately was ordered by the state Supreme Court to cede control to the county. While Whitefish has never wanted to see strip development along the highway, the city has always wanted a voice in how that area, as the highest profile entrance to the city, develops.

To further solidify county control — and from Whitefish’s viewpoint, to add insult to injury — the county commissioners last year approved a U.S. 93 South corridor plan that opened the door for more commercial development, with the county calling the shots.

Now a plan has emerged that would once again give Whitefish a measure of control over future development of the corridor. Breaking with historic city policy to not extend water and sewer service south of Montana 40, the City Council is now considering such utility extensions as it updates the city’s extension of services plan.

Proposed language in the draft plan says it clearly: “Council is now amenable to extending services, at a maximum, to Blanchard Lake Road concurrent with annexation.” It is, of course, that “A” word that will give the city control and quite frankly may give property owners along the highway some real heartburn.

Whitefish Planning Director David Taylor pointed out during a recent council work session that once those outlying properties get city services and are annexed, they’ll have to fall in line with the city’s review process, including architectural standards for new construction. “It does allow us to maintain more control,” he said.

Some downtown supporters don’t think extending services is a good idea because the potential sprawl would change the character of the small town so many have tried to preserve. We understand that rationale to a point, but time marches on and cities grow. It’s irresponsible for Whitefish not to have a plan for future growth beyond city limits, even though this particular highway corridor is under county jurisdiction.

There is still time to weigh in on this latest twist in the city’s ongoing quest to guide growth outside its borders. The Planning Board and City Council will be considering adoption of the extension of services plan in the coming months. We’ll keep you posted.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Brenneman made valley a better place

June 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Daily Inter Lake We were saddened to learn of the death of former County Commissioner Joe Brenneman, who exemplified the community-minded spirit of the Flathead as well as anyone. Brenneman, who was just 60 at the t...

Comments

Read More

Whitefish stepping up to address critical housing needs

June 10, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake An affordable-housing project proposed in Whitefish is one of eight finalists for the next round of Montana Board of Housing tax-credit awards, and that’s great news for a community whose housing nee...

Comments

Read More

Heino boosted by community support

June 08, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Congratulations to Brian Heino for his decisive victory in the race for Flathead County Sheriff on Tuesday. His ability to get almost as many votes as his three competitors combined shows he has a s...

Comments

Read More

Be responsible citizen and informed voter

June 03, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Well, it’s almost here — the most important day in the life of any republic: Election Day. As we have noted before, there is a high level of interest in this year’s primary election, from county con...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2018 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X